Guide to becoming an Interim Manager

What is an Interim Manager?

Interim Manager's (IM) are highly skilled professionals with management experience who can be brought into an organisation for a limited duration assignment to carry out a specific activity or set of requirements.

Interim Management is still a relatively new industry and, as a business concept, is a fantastic way of injecting much-needed flexibility into the marketplace. The UK operates perhaps the most sophisticated Interim Management services in the world, with executives and managers covering a wide variety of roles at different levels of expertise and within various technical areas. The best Interim Managers are already proving that, if used effectively, they can be worth their weight in gold – and according to the Institute of Directors an Interim Executive with relevant experience and a good track record can be ‘the answer to a company’s prayers’.

Why companies use Interim Managers

When a company employs an IM, that person is contracted to deliver a fixed assignment for a fixed cost and fixed duration. Through this, the company gains the benefit of instant experience, a higher caliber of manager as well as having an ‘implementer’ on hand who will be focused solely on the job at hand. These benefits have lead organisations to increasingly recruit IM's leaving a wide market for first time Interim Managers!

Some specific situations in which a company might need to engage an Interim Manager include:

  • To conduct a change management process, or business restructuring which needs specialist resource and expertise. 
  • To launch a new project when in-house skills are not sufficient.
  • To turn an ailing business around.
  • To set up new businesses or to close down old ones.
  • To handle a business situation which needs evaluation, recommendation and implementation when there is no time to do this using internal staff.
  • To fill a sudden gap in the workforce caused by absence, resignation, dismissal or secondment.
  • To accommodate a sudden increase in workload.
  • To manage acquisitions.
  • To provide mentoring and team development.
  • To carry out crisis management activity.

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Administrative and practical issues

Ask any accountant and they will tell you the most tax efficient way to work as an Interim Manager, contractor or freelancer is to work through your own limited company. According to a 2010 survey by the Institute of Interim Management, 89% of professional Interims utilise a limited company model for their businesses. Forming a company isn't difficult and only takes about five minutes. You'll need to have professional indemnity insurance and on a more personal level you will also need to:

  • Be organised and efficient in all aspects of your company administration.
  • Provide a cost-effective alternative to a permanent, highly-paid executive.
  • Offer flexibility on location and be able to commit to a weekly commute if necessary for the duration of the assignment.
  • Be financially secure and able to cope with non-billing periods.
  • Be available at short notice.

Where can I get more advice?

It’s well worth talking to the Institute of Interim Management. The IIM is the professional body for Interim Managers. It is a not-for-profit Institute run by Interim Managers and Executives. The IIM publishes an annual survey of Interim Management recruiters (known by Interim Managers as ‘Service Providers’). One such leading Service Provider is Archer Mathieson who come highly recommended by a number of our clients. You may also like to visit the IIM’s LinkedIn group: Interim Management – IIM which is a leading authority on the subject of Interim Management.

Accountancy services for Interim Managers from SJD Accountancy

If you are already an Interim Manager operating through your own limited company, or if you are thinking of setting up as an Interim Manager or even working through an umbrella company and want to go limited, then SJD Accountancy can give you a wealth of information and advice. We provide a low cost fixed-fee accountancy service which has been developed specifically for Interim Managers, freelancers and contractors. We've been acting for clients across the UK since 1992 and have more than 14,000 already.

If you have any question about contracting or would like any further advice please call our New business team on 01442 275789 or email: